Are you making marketing mistakes that harm your business? Let me paint two very different pictures to illustrate that question.
If your small business marketing plan is on-point, you have a mix of strategies that encompasses multiple media and platforms including Facebook page and Facebook groups. From online marketing to reach a large audience to laser-focused local mediums, they find they have a knack for hitting the perfect note with consumers.
Other businesses, however, struggle to connect with their intended audience and are left experimenting with a variety of methods to reach the masses. Try as they might, their marketing strategy never quite hits the mark.
These business owners sometimes mistakenly believe that a larger advertising budget, a grander retail storefront, or more blog content would make their marketing efforts resonate with users.
Does this sound eerily like you?
If so, look not at what you cannot achieve with your constrained budget, staff, or other limited resources but at what errors you might be making with your existing marketing strategy.
By making just a few tweaks to eliminate the marketing mistakes that could be harmful to your business, you could start attracting the new customers you’ve been waiting for. Take a look.
1 - The Scourge of Digital Marketing: Clickbait
There is virtually nothing more reprehensible to digital marketing professionals than clickbait tactics.
By the way, your users hate them too—in fact, it gives readers a compelling reason to leave your site.
Clickbait is a ploy often used by companies to elicit a response from users (a click over to a website) when there’s not much substance to the claim. Once the user arrives on the site, eager to read the scoop on the shocking news (hey, it’s human nature), they feel irritated—or even angry—that they wasted their time.
Instead of spending your time creating sensational headlines that will get clicks but not foster genuine engagement, craft compelling titles that are backed up with quality content.
2 - Social Media Faux Pas
Social media marketing is essential for almost any business to thrive today. It connects people in a very personal way, allowing users to see behind the scenes at their favorite companies.
At the same time, the very informality that allows companies and followers to connect breeds haphazard regard for boundaries. Those blurred lines have caused severe consequences for many a company.
And that doesn’t mean just small companies like yours.
Here’s a well-documented example. In the wake of the late Carrie Fisher’s death in December of 2016, pastry giant Cinnabon Tweeted their version of a memorial of the actress.
The image was a side view of Fisher as Princess Leia, her signature side-bun replaced with a Cinnabon bun. The Tweet’s content? “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy.”
The public backlash unleashed a flurry of outrage and prompted Cinnabon to remove the Tweet within one hour.
To put up such a Tweet so shortly after her tragic death is an example of crossing over the line from tasteful, funny, and cute (say when they used that same content on Star Wars Day) into a morbid statement after her demise.
Plus, any true Star Wars follower knows that Ms. Fisher actually despised those side buns.
Long story short, if you question the content of your social media marketing
even the tiniest bit, withhold it.
Ask a colleague or co-worker for a second opinion before you let it fly.
3 - Personal Social Media Gaffes That Impact Your Business
While we’re talking about social media, remember that what you say on personal social pages could be held against you by potential customers.
As a business owner, remember that you are always the face of your company, even during your time off.
So, if you are posting inappropriate photos, comments, or statements on your personal Facebook or Instagram pages, these can creep back up on you and surprise you later.
Prospective customers or investors routinely look at business owners’
own social media before doing business with them.
Not only do you risk offending potential customers, but in many states in the USA, social media statements (even those made on personal pages) open you up to charges of discriminatory practices or sexual harassment.
As a business owner or manager, be on your best behavior on your social channels.
4 - Telemarketing
While most of the mistakes we are discussing are related to digital marketing, let’s talk about the old stand-by of insurance companies and travel agencies—telemarketing.
Telemarketing, once upon a time, was an instrumental means of reaching consumers. Indeed, it was so effective that all different types of companies jumped on the bandwagon and “dialed for dollars” until call recipients stopped answering their telephones.
In more recent years, phone scams have robbed US consumers of millions of dollars and become so pervasive that the US Federal Trade Commission implemented a Do Not Call list to allows consumers to protect themselves.
If you’re still telemarketing, you likely see dramatic drops in results. Your prospects no longer trust this technique. Plus, even if you inadvertently dial one consumer on the Do Not Call List, you are subject to being reported for violating Federal Law.
Is this old school method of marketing really worth the risk?
5 - Tossing Shade
Clearly, your company is superior to your competitor’s. But be careful in how you make statements that differentiate you from the pack.
First of all, it might annoy users or makes them perceive you as nasty or bitter.
Second, making claims that confuse users or that can be construed as defamatory can land you in hot water.
So, if you’re going to toss a little shade from time to time (you know you’re gonna), do it carefully and with a dose of good-natured humor that keeps you from sounding bitter.
Here’s a successful example of tossing shade without making any false statements and with a small touch of wit:
6 - Inappropriate Responses to Online Reviews
Whether you like it or not, responding to online reviews becomes part of your company’s public profile. Monitoring reviews and reacting accordingly, albeit reluctantly, is part of your digital marketing strategy.
Do you have some less than stellar reviews on Facebook or Google? How did you handle them? Ignore them? Lash out at the writer because he or she was clearly insane?
Online reviews have an enormous impact on your business. Users read them,
digest the content, and make purchase decisions based on them.
However, that’s only half the picture.
Those same users also know that nobody’s perfect and can accept one lousy feedback in a sea of dozens of glowing reviews.
However, that mindset of forgiveness changes when companies blame the consumers for the initial cause of the poor review. Users become fearful that they, too, could receive poor service from your business—or worse, a virtual scolding from you.
Instead, use the negative comments and spin them into a positive. Use it as a learning opportunity. Publicly express your regret to the reviewer, and offer a solution. Those reading the exchange in the future will appreciate your excellent customer service and give you the benefit of the doubt.
7 - Email Marketing Gone Off the Rails
You have probably heard experts say that email marketing is a great way to connect with consumers and build a loyal following. That is true, but only if you execute it well.
So, what can go wrong?
Two significant errors that can send your email marketing efforts off the rails are spamming and sending too many marketing emails.
In case you don’t know, you can be reported as spam if you send emails to people who did not subscribe to receive content from you straight to their inbox.
The repercussions of sending spammy marketing are the loss of customer trust and
possibly even banishment by your email marketing platform.
Reputable email marketing platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp take spam reports seriously.
Remember, too, that even users who did subscribe don’t want you barraging them with emails—restrain yourself! Send emails responsibly, take time to personalize the content, and proceed with caution.
8 - Blog Spam
The topic of email spam segues well into our next marketing mistake—blog spam.
Blog spamming is when a website owner attempts to build backlinks to their site by cruising through blogs and leaving comments on posts, conveniently including a backlink in that commentary.
This practice is so prevalent that I couldn’t resist peeking at my blog comments as I was writing. At this very moment, I have 118 spam comments caught in a filter; all of these came in within the past two days.
This is not meant to say that you should never post comments to blogs, especially when the content is an area in which you have some expertise and can legitimately add value to the conversation.
For example, a lifestyle blogger publishes a post about the trend of hosting outdoor weddings in rustic barns. You happen to be a baker and can offer an insight as to why cupcakes are better for this type of venue. Share that information, as it’s valuable to the conversation and the users engaging with that blog will be interested. However, if you’re trying to peddle herbal supplements, you’re in the wrong space.
These discredit you, and users get tired of seeing them.
If users can pick up on the fact that the comments are out of place,
you better believe that Google’s army of bots can also discern this.
With their stringent standards continuously evolving, this could draw ire from the search engines.
9 - Failing to Research Keywords
Many people believe the first step in writing an epic blog that will outperform all other blogs of similar content is crafting a title with surgical precision. In fact, digital marketing experts will tell you that you’re dead wrong.
The very first thing you need to do before you spend time keying even one word of that title is to research your keywords.
Doing keyword research is invaluable. It tells you what search words are trending and
the volume of users that are looking for content on any given topic.
This data enables you to create content that users will actually consume, share, and perhaps even subscribe to your site.
Writing about topics that literally nobody is interested in is pointless. Trust me; I did precisely the same thing for several months when I started my first blog. Only after I harnessed the power of keyword research was I able to transform that blog into a moneymaker.
Conversely, you can also go overboard and engage in another mistake, called keyword stuffing. This practice is the intentional overuse of a specific phrase or word to “stuff” that word into the content as frequently as possible. Don’t do it.
Keywords will make or break you when you’re creating digital marketing content.
10 - Content Concerns
Users and search engines both demand content; providing them high-quality content will make them prefer yours over that of your competitors.
So, what are two notorious content killers? Spinning content and duplicate content. While these are closely-related concepts, they have a few differences.
Spinning content is when a blogger takes the same article and reworks it, either manually or with a content spinning app, until it doesn’t get flagged as plagiarism. While you might get away with the practice for a short while, this will catch up with you soon enough. Every time you change up the language, you take one step away from the original, intended meaning.
After several revisions, it becomes evident to users that something’s not quite right. They will abandon your content.
Duplicate content, on the other hand, is when the same material pops up on the internet either in its original form or so closely reworded that it’s almost indistinguishable.
Whether or not you get “caught” propagating duplicate content is not what’s killing your marketing plan. It’s the fact that users want to read fresh material that helps them solve a problem. If you’re only restating that which they already know, you will receive little love from those users.
The truth is that it’s challenging to create genuinely unique content—unless you’re a researcher sharing a brand new study or an online news agency with a tasty scoop. Since most of us are not those things, at least present old information from your unique vantage point and with your own voice.
Present old information from your unique vantage point and with your own voice.
You’re selling yourself—and your business-short by engaging in these content killers.
The Bottom Line
If your marketing efforts have not issued the rich rewards you’ve been hoping for, all is not lost.
Take a deep breath, and look not only at what you are doing, but how you are going about it. If you are making one or more of these mistakes, forgive yourself and move on. It’s time to press the reset button and re-strategize.
Once you’ve eliminated these methods from your marketing toolbelt, you will begin to engage your audience again soon.